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Spanish Rice

I don’t remember even eating Spanish Rice as a child.  Mr.Picky loves spanish and mexican rice out of a box but I refuse to make the sodium filled rice.  I have come up with a recipe similar to the Mexican rice but had no recipe for the Spanish rice until now.

After doing some research and came up with this recipe after combining what sounded good to me.  It turned out great.  In fact is was the base layer to a skillet/casserole recipe I was making.  Be sure to check back for that recipe.

This Spanish rice is not spicy due to the little ones.  Extra heat could be added with come cayenne pepper to the mix or maybe add a diced jalapeño.  It was flavorful without too much salt and the perfect heat for the kids.

Spanish RiceSpanish Rice:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp or 1 cube chicken bullion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin

In a skillet heat olive oil over medium/ high heat.

Saute onion, pepper, and rice.  Stirring constantly so the rice does not burn, cook until most of the rice has toasted and the vegetables soften.

Spanish Rice

Add the rice mixture to a medium pot along with the remaining ingredients.

Bring the mixture up to a boil, cover and reduce heat to the lowest it will go.

Cook covered for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender.  Fluff with a fork when done.


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Hot Corn Dip

Hot Corn Dip

I made this dip for Fourth of July and served it with tortilla chips.  It had wonderful flavor, and was easily made the night before and put into the oven before the party.  In no time the dip was gone, and I was asked for copies of the recipe.  Closet Cooking shared the recipe, and inspired me to try something new.

Hot Corn Dip:

  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 2 cup corn kernels or (2 ears of corn removed from cob)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup yellow or red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow or sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 handful of Monterey jack, grated
  • 1 handful of cheddar cheese, grated

Hot Corn DipMelt 1 Tbs of butter in a saute pan, add corn and saute until corn starts to become golden brown.  Place in a bowl and set aside.

Using the same pan, melt the other Tbs of butter and add peppers, garlic, and yellow onion.  Saute until vegetables become tender, add in green onions and saute 2 minutes more.  Add to the bowl of corn.

Mix in mayo, salt, pepper, cayenne, and half of the cheese.  Place in an 8×8 pan or a 9 inch pie plate.  Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Cheese will be melted and sides bubbly.

Hot Corn Dip

Lazy Day Casserole

Lazy Day CasseroleThanks to my misreading of this recipe title it has forever been renamed in my mind.  Via pinterest I found the recipe for Lazy Sunday Casserole from Kayotic Kitchen.  My sister made it before I could and told me it turned out amazing.  I bumped it up on my dinner list and away we went.  I knew it was going to make a large quantity, after adding a few extra potatoes.  I ended up with a 10 x 15″ glass baking dish full of goodness.

I made a quick phone call to my grandma and asked if they wanted us to bring dinner to them.  We ended up feeding five adults and two small children, just about licking the dish clean.  My grandpa whose appetite is usually small, went back for thirds.  No one besides me had eaten fennel bulb before but the only complaints came from Mr.Picky, shocking I know.

I did adapt the recipe slightly,  I used Yukon gold potatoes and did not peel my potatoes.  Also I think I would add a parsnip or two, sliced to the size of my carrots.

Lazy Day Casserole:

  • 4 raw sausages, I used italian brats
  • About 1 pound of new or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 pound carrot, peel and medallion or use baby carrots
  • 1-2 parsnips, peel and medallion
  • 1/2-1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound fennel bulb, stems removed and cut into wedges
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • fresh pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian herbs
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 4 Tbs balsamic vinegar

Cut potatoes, fennel, and onions into wedges.  Pepper into thin strips, carrots and parsnips into medallions.  Place in a roasting pan.

Combine oil, herbs, broth, and garlic.  Pour over vegetables and toss around a bit to coat.

Season with fresh ground pepper and salt, cover with foil tightly.

Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes.

While vegetables are baking, brown sausages on all side but do not cook through.  Slice each sausage in half and set aside.

Remove foil from vegetables and place sausages over the vegetables, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.

Return to oven uncovered for 25-30 minutes.  Serve nice and hot!

Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast BurritosMr.Picky is out-of-town weekly driving truck.  In order for us to save money and eat healthy we pack his food for the four days he is gone.  This is probably no different to those of you who make ahead breakfasts and lunches for the week in order to help stick to a healthy lifestyle.  Planning ahead and preparing food is something that helps my days run smoothly.

Breakfast burritos is a go to for our whole family.  Mr.Picky loves anything in a tortilla, and I can often add vegetables to my filling and no one complains.

I will take burrito filling and tortillas on trips and we can pretty much heat them up anywhere.  Mr.Picky likes to take burritos wrapped and made, so he just has to heat and go in the morning.

These burritos will last a good four days in the fridge made up, and even longer if you keep your filling and wraps separate.

Breakfast Burrito Filling:

The burrito filling can make as much or as little as you would like.  Add your favorites, and leave out what you don’t like.  My instructions are general and I am only listing things that I have put into my burritos on different occasions.  Add as much or as little as you would like.  In general I will pick a meat or two, potatoes, eggs, gravy, and a few vegetables.  The one thing I think that makes a difference is some country gravy mixed in so the filling is not dry.

  • Ground breakfast sausage, browned and crumbled
  • Bacon, cooked and chopped
  • Ham, diced
  • Ground turkey and chorizo, cooked and crumbled
  • Onion, diced and sautéed
  • Bell Peppers, diced and sautéed
  • Spinach, wilted slightly and chopped
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Potatoes, shredded or diced and cooked until done
  • Eggs, scrambled
  • Country gravy, homemade or packaged
  • Cheddar or Mexican cheese blend, shredded
  • Tortillas or sometimes we use “Pocket Thins” similar to a soft pita

Breakfast BurritosI mix my filling besides the shredded cheese together in a large bowl.  Scoop filling into tortillas and add cheese if you would like.  Roll up and wrap burritos or keep separate and prepare as you go.

Best Macaroni Salad

Best Macaroni Salad

Nothing says BBQ like a macaroni salad.  I refuse to eat store-bought salad because it just taste terrible.  So I looked up a recipe of macaroni salad a few years ago on Allrecipes.com and have been using this recipe since.  I have changed mine slightly to my liking, but you can follow the link to the original if you would like.  Mr.Picky loves this salad, as well as the kids.  I know the dressing is not so healthy but the salad actually has a lot of veggies in it, and the plates always come back clean.

Best Macaroni Salad:

  • 3 cups dry macaroni noodles (cooked as directed on box, drained and cooled)
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion (sweet is great but yellow will work), finely chopped
  • 1 small jar of pimentos
  • 2 stocks celery, finely chopped

Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayo (I use olive oil mayonnaise for everything)
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbs yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Combine cooked noodles and vegetables in a large bowl.Best Macaroni Salad

Whip together the dressing ingredients until combined.  If you mix sugar and vinegar first the sugar will dissolve easier, and then add the rest of the ingredients

Mix dressing and salad together, and chill for at least 4 hours for flavors to come together.

*In the picture you will see yellow bell peppers and a small jalapeno being used.  I didn’t have a green pepper and was not running to the store for just that.  Use what you have, you just might discover something new.

Salad Choices. . .

I love a good salad bar, but usually any restaurant salad bar just doesn’t compare with what I can do at home.  We enjoy salad, it is one the few ways Mr.Picky will eat all his vegetables.  What makes it more exciting is if I put out a variety of toppings.  It gets the kids trying out new things, and they love the idea that they get to create their own.  Don’t get me wrong there are times when I make a tossed or chopped salad but in our house this gets everyone involved.

If I buy lettuce head in bulk, usually 6 Romane heads at a time I need some toppings.  I will spend a little time and wash and chop all of my toppings and keep them in the fridge for dinner every night for the week.  Top with some homemade salad dressings and you are set for the week.  Sometimes we will grill some chicken and it becomes our meal, especially during the hot summer months.

These are common things I will prepare and set out as toppings:Salad Bar

  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • bell peppers
  • olives
  • Leftover bean salad or a rinsed can of beans
  • beets, cooked and cubed
  • cilantro or basil
  • baby corn (as we call them)
  • crumbled blue cheese
  • green onions, or red thinly sliced
  • grapes halved or apples chopped

Homemade Corned beef Hash

So I had about a pound of corned beef left over from my hot corned beef sandwiches.  Mr. Picky loves a good savory breakfast.  I make hash with a lot with left over meat, but I tried a new technique.  I borrowed my mom’s food grinder that attached to the kitchen aid and went to town.  I threw in what I thought would be good down in the grinder, and out came . . . .

Homemade Corned Beef Hash:

You could dice all of the following, but I put it all through a coarse grinder.

  • About 1 lb. left over corned beef, (see my corned beef sandwich recipe on how I prepared)
  • 5 small-medium size russet potatoes, peeled and steamed until just tender
  • 1/2 large onion, cut to fit through grinder feeder
  • 1 sweet bell pepper or 10 mini peppers ( I had mini sweets, so I had a variety of color and flavor)

Corned Beef Hash

Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Fry in a large skillet until its how you like it.  We like ours crispy so I cook it for about 30 minutes.  We served it with poached eggs on top, with a side of toast.  Breakfast for dinner, and a whole lot of comfort.

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